Team orders, help or hindrance?
This is a question that has the best of us in split minds. On one hand is it better for the team to control the drivers and thus the race outcome of that team, or should the driver simply be left to drive for his own best position possible?
Team orders have been around in Formula 1 pretty much from the beginning weather it was shouted to the driver in the pit lane or over the team radio. In fact it wasn’t unheard of that a driver would give up his car if his team mate had crashed his own and was in a better position back in the olden days.
In the late 90’s team orders were gaining more and more bad press and very negative reactions from the public, especially in 1997 when during the European GP, Jacques Villeneuve who was already that years champion was asked over the team radio to move over and let McLaren through as they had been very helpful to them. Ouch!
Another example amongst many was in 2002 at the Aussie GP Ferrari ordered Rubens Barrichello to move over to allow team mate Michael Schumacher to win, He moved over just a few meters before the finish line. This did not go down well.
It was after the 2002 season the FIA stepped in and announced “Team orders that could influence the outcome of a race are banned.”
Hmm did that stop anyone? Well let’s see, how many times have you heard the likes of.. “Your team mate is quicker, do you understand?” Yes a lot!
It is the recent event between Red Bull pair Sebastian Vettel and Mark webber, when Vettel ignored direct team orders to stay in possition but then overtook Webber to go on and win the race. That brings us once again to this question. Should direct team orders be allowed?
Webber is not as innocent as he likes to make out though. In 2010 at the German GP, he was given direct orders to slow down and let team mate Vettel to overtake him, however Webber disregarded this message and the pair collided, neither one of whom would accept the blame.
So what do you think? Should the most competitive and best drivers in the world be told what to do for the sake of a favoured driver, the good of the team and for the safety and safe return of the drivers and their cars, or should they be allowed to do what comes naturally to them and drive the hell out of them cars?